From teaching English in China and rolling out a women-only swimming initiative in Glasgow to supporting spectators with autism at the 2018 European Championships, Jaz Sandhu brings with her a wealth of experience to the role of Equality and Diversity Adviser.
She is an undergraduate of Business and Information Management from Glasgow Caledonian University. Given her commitment to equality and diversity, she returned to study at the University of Stirling as a mature student, where she completed her Postgraduate studies in Gender Studies.
Jaz joined New College Lanarkshire in November 2019 having previously worked in a number of equality and diversity roles.
She is keen to speak with as many staff and students as possible about their experiences, which may be personal or professional, in order to help inform and shape the equality and diversity focus for the College.
Jaz said: “Given the current situation that we find ourselves in, equality and diversity has never been more important.
“The coronavirus pandemic has brought to the forefront a number of inequalities, from the rise in domestic violence, to a range of mental health issues and racism.
“With this in mind, it is important that we continue to provide support for those most vulnerable at this time.
“I’m open to speaking with individuals across the College who would like to discuss any new ideas or suggestions they may have and explore how we could move forward on some of these ideas.”
Jaz has worked with Glasgow Life developing a number of initiatives and opportunities for individuals that created inclusive and supportive sporting environments for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), disabled, and LGBTIQ+ communities to achieve their full potential.
Initiatives included establishing Glasgow’s first women’s and girls’ swimming programme, working as part of the UK Asian Football Championships Team to raise the profile of Asian men in football, and managing a Learn to Swim programme specifically devised for young children with a disability.
Prior to that, Jaz was the Inclusion Manager for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, ensuring that equality, diversity and inclusion was embedded across all functional areas and phases.
Jaz has also worked with the Scottish Ethnic Minority Sports Association and was instrumental in developing the Scottish Women's Active Pathways (SWAP) Project, which aimed to both encourage participation levels amongst young BAME women and girls, and act as a catalyst to empower them to make positive and informed decisions about their lives.
At New College Lanarkshire, Jaz’s role encompasses many areas, including working with Academic staff and Professional Services, supporting the Students’ Association and Learner Engagement team with events, and working with HR to promote an inclusive environment.
She added: “I’m extremely passionate about equality and diversity and I’m excited about being a part of a process that will help shape the experiences of both students and staff.
“Although education is a new sector for me, I believe the principles of equality and diversity are intrinsic to any workplace environment and wider society.
“This role will allow me to take on an inclusive approach to achieving equality and diversity across the College, working with colleagues to ultimately understand that an individual has multiple identities and recognise how each of these identities can impact on someone’s life.
“There is a clear need to recognise the interactions and relationships that exist across the nine protected characteristics outlined within the Equality Act 2010.
“I’m aware of the good work currently taking place and I’m keen to continue to build on this but also develop new projects and initiatives.
“To successfully achieve equality and diversity, it involves a commitment from everyone; a collective approach to ensure that everyone feels valued and respected whether they are studying, working or visiting our college environment.”
To get in touch with Jaz, you can email her at Jaz.Sandhu@nclan.ac.uk